MARC LAWRENCE (Writer/Director)
This is your first time out directing one of your scripts. What was this experience like for you?
It was a real delight. This is my third time working with Sandy [Bullock] and my first time working with Hugh [Grant], and they were both great.
You always hope for great chemistry between the leads in romantic comedies. What do you think about Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock's chemistry onscreen?
Unbelievable, I think they are Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant for our generation. I can't imagine two better people in a romantic comedy. It's incredible how good they were.
Was Hugh Grant the obvious choice for Two Weeks Notice?
Sandy and I had talked about it and she had been looking to work with Hugh for a long time. Everybody in Hollywood had been trying to get a movie for the two of them to do, they just never found the right script. So right from the beginning, as I was writing, the dream was always that it would be Hugh and Sandy.
Do you think the title 'King of Romantic Comedies' fits Hugh Grant?
I don't think there is anyone better than Hugh at this form. He's so natural at it. He's so spot-on perfect rhythm and timing-wise, he's a gift to any comedy writer and any comedy director.
Are you up to directing again?
I've been fired (laughing). No, no, I love doing it. I would love to do it again. I think most writers in Hollywood would like the opportunity to do this and I really think that more writers should get the opportunity to do it. Basically directing is storytelling and that's what writing is. I loved it.
Was shooting in New York an easy decision for you to make?
Yes. It was always set in New York. I live in New York and we never had any plans to shoot it anywhere else. After September 11th, we were the first film back in to New York City. The first film to shoot New York City again. The studio never wavered and Sandy and Hugh - in particular - never wavered for a second.
Is it easier to direct a movie you wrote?
I think so. I think you have inside knowledge obviously of the story. You know what your impulse was for writing it. You know why you are doing a particular scene and you know what you were looking for. But also, if you are a writer and you are on the set and the scene isn't exactly working you say, You know what? Give me five minutes. I want to take another pass at this. It's the greatest thing to have on the set. Let's take this from not working and make it great.
Do you usually write with a specific actor in mind?
Sometimes yes and sometimes no. In the case of Two Weeks Notice, absolutely. I was writing with Sandy and Hugh in mind from the very beginning.
Have you ever written and not got the actor you wanted, so it looks different onscreen than you pictured it in your mind?
This is probably going to sound unbelievable but I've been incredibly lucky. I think in everything that I've written, even if I didn't have an actor in mind, once the script was finished and the studio said, We are going to make this picture, I think we've gotten the first choice in everything that we did. I've been very, very lucky that way.
ALICIA WITT ('Judy')
Alicit Witt at the Los Angeles Premiere of "Two Weeks Notice."
Photo ©Rebecca Murray. All Rights Reserved.
You co-star with two very big stars in Hollywood, Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant. What was your experience like working on this movie?
They are so nice to work with. They are both so down-to-earth. They don't have big star egos or anything like that. It made the working environment really great.
How do you rate the chemistry between Grant and Bullock?
They have amazing off-screen chemistry. That's what I saw. I saw them constantly joking and teasing each other, almost like the equivalent of a little boy chasing a little girl around the playground. They are just so cute together.
Can you talk about shooting in New York after September 11th?
I was so happy that it filmed in New York not only because it's an amazing city, but also because a lot of people across the country who don't live in a big city - or people across the world - somehow started to think about New York as a dangerous place to be and envisioned it as some war zone after that happened. And yes, in the month after it happened New York was the most depressed and just sad and bleak place. But the people there are amazing and they are resilient and strong and warm. I was so happy to be a part of a movie that's a tribute to that.
How hard is it to sustain a relationship in Hollywood?
It depends on the relationship. If you are really in love with someone and if you have a strong foundation that is not based in the industry, then I think you are in good shape. It's a little more tenuous when you meet someone, a fellow actor on a job who you have a love scene with, and you start this torrid affair. It has very little to do with reality. The chances of that lasting in the real world are a little bit weaker, I think.